KICK OUT THE JAMS: Once upon a time there was a studio group on 20th Century Records called the Eleventh Hour, fronted by songwriter Kenny Nolan. Their self-titled album contained a song about a character from New Orleans that attracted the attention of a famed producer from New Orleans, Allen Toussaint. He decided to cut the song with a female trio — not from New Orleans, but Philadelphia. Patti Labelle, Sarah Dash, and Nona Hendryx, known collectively as LaBelle, took “Lady Marmalade” all the way to No. 1 on The Billboard Hot 100 in March 1975.
Now, 26 years and two weeks later, the song is back on the chart in a brand new version recorded by four solo artists who come together for the first time. “Lady Marmalade” (Interscope) by Christina Aguilera, Lil’ Kim, Mya, and Pink is from the soundtrack to the forthcoming film “Moulin Rouge.”
If this all-star quartet can take “Lady Marmalade” back to the top of the Hot 100, it will be the ninth song of the rock era to be No. 1 by two different artists. The most recent song to accomplish this was “I’ll Be There,” originally a chart-topper for the Jackson 5 in 1970, and then a No. 1 hit for Mariah Carey in 1992.
‘ALL’ YOU NEED: Enough people needed a copy of Janet Jackson’s “All For You” (Virgin) to send the single to the top of The Billboard Hot 100. It’s the first song by a female artist to advance to No. 1 in 2000, and it’s Jackson’s 10th No. 1 hit on this chart.
The only female artists to have more chart-topping hits are Mariah Carey (15), Madonna (12), and Whitney Houston (11). Depending on how many No. 1 singles Jackson can pull from her new album, she could surpass Houston, then Madonna, and challenge her new label-mate, Carey, for the all-time distaff record.
“All For You” also moves to No. 1 on Billboard’s Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles & Tracks chart, where Chart Beat reader Kelvin Blunt of Los Angeles notes it is Jackson’s 14th song to move into pole position (Blunt mentions “Diamonds” was No. 1, which would have given Jackson a total of 15 No. 1 songs. However, this single is not counted in Jackson’s total of Billboard R&B No. 1 hits, because she didn’t receive artist credit. Jackson provided lead vocals for her boss at the time, A&M label founder Herb Alpert).
Only one other female artist has more No. 1 hits on Billboard’s R&B chart — Aretha Franklin, tied with Stevie Wonder for having 20 chart-toppers, the most for any artist. Blunt notes that Jackson will be one of the guest stars on VH1’s upcoming diva tribute to Lady Soul.
ON THE CASE: With a giant leap up The Billboard Hot 100, R&B singer Case (recently spotlighted as a Billboard.com Artist Of The Day) suddenly has the biggest hit of his career. The commercial release of a single for “Missing You” (Def Soul) fuels a 37-5 jump, surpassing the No. 10 peak of Case’s previous best, “Faded Pictures,” a 1999 duet with Joe.
THE BIG THREE: With the debut of “Acoustic Soul” (Motown) at No. 3 on Billboard’s Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart, newcomer India.Arie becomes only the third solo female artist in the long history of the label founded by Berry Gordy to have a top-three album on Billboard’s R&B chart.
No one will be shocked to learn that the first solo female artist to make the top three was Diana Ross, whose self-titled first solo album spent two weeks at No. 1. Ross has had four more top-three albums. The second solo female act on Motown to have a top-three R&B album was Erykah Badu, whose “Mama’s Gun” debuted and peaked at No. 3 the week of Dec. 9, 2000.
India.Arie’s debut album is powered by the success of the album track “Video,” which has received substantial airplay at R&B radio. On The Billboard 200, where “Acoustic Soul” enters at No. 10, India.Arie is only the second solo female artist on Motown to have a top-10 album, after Ross. Badu’s “Mama’s Gun” peaked at No. 11 on this chart, as did Thelma Houston’s 1977 release, “Any Way You Like It.”